939_Detail from “The Antique Juggling Girl” by Lord Frederic Leighton


Do you know how sometimes you make something that is so good it surprises even you? It seemed so effortless, and till this day you still kind of wonder how you made it? It is that good.

I have often wondered why I can’t do this more often. I discovered it has to do with my thinking…

Sometimes in making my Art I am overly concerned with results. This usually happens after an absence. I keep thinking about how it is going to turn out. This mindset doesn’t ever produce my best work. When I am too focused on the outcome, I am simply not present. And then I am no longer able to fully experience the small miraculous thing unfolding in front of me. If my decisions are not based upon what is happening presently, then they cannot possibly all work together to make a cohesive whole in the future.

At some point, usually day two or three, I remember that it is more about enjoying the moment, paying attention to what is happening now, that oddly results in my best work.

Now I no longer wait so long to get back to this understanding. I simply have changed my process.

Quantity over Quality

For me, the way to quickly come back to this understanding is through quantity, not quality. I just start back in doing way more, all at once, than I can possibly handle. So much that I can’t possibly understand entirely what I am doing. If the state of things are so hectic and dynamic in the present, then having a clear understanding of the future or clinging to an outcome is next to impossible.

When there are just too many balls in the air, intuition, spontaneity, and just plain fun creep back in to my process. Once I am re engaged in this way, then and only then can strong work become possible.

My best work oddly feels like I made it without caring. It just kind of happened by accident while I was playing with art materials. And in fact it was…

Art, like life, teaches me again and again that all possibility, all things worthwhile are available if I just can let go and surrender, happily to the present.

It seems to good to be true. But I think it is.

In gratitude, Nicholas